Guest Poem by Alicia Byrne Keane

Dr. Alicia Byrne Keane has a B.A. and Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin, and an MSt. from Oxford University. Alicia's poetry has been published in Stand, Boulevard, Orbis, The Colorado Review, Causeway / Cabhsair, The Stinging Fly, The Moth and Banshee, among other journals. Alicia's debut full collection will be published by Broken Sleep Books in December 2023; further poetry is forthcoming in Channel Magazine and The Ofi Press. This poem is from Acumen 107.

Sceach / Uncommon Knowledge

The last days of January lap & settle
but, twice now, I have heard birds
at dusk. The skylight that slants
on the landing of my parents’ house
looks unfamiliar for a second:
some things are seen and seen again.
Dust-mauve, that swathe
of clear sky just below the cloud;
the low black rooves of barns
or bungalows; the ink-seep of branches
still so far from abundance.
To think we held tight to our disbelief
here when the world rushed, stalled.
I still know a gale by how
it turns the eucalyptus to a shoal.
Dart and corner: a mattress glows
in the next room, the blanket laid out
for the dog. I have to turn away
from this dark space between
rafters, leave where it’s leaving me,
caught in an unlikely summer.